20k Views Thanks to You!

Greetings beer nerds, beer curious friends and anyone else who finds my website relatively interesting! I tip my cyber hat to you all for being such fantastic supporters. My website recently surpassed 20,000 views! That’s truly fantastic and I have to thank you all for being the lovely people whom you all are.

I know it’s been a wee bit since my previous post about the Beer Bloggers Conference, which by the way — WAS FREAKING FANTASTIC. The best part of the entire conference was the glorious bottle share I participated in. There were over 200 cans, bottles and growlers of beers from all over the country!

There were a few takeaways I received from the conference which were…

  1. Stay as invested in the industry as possible
  2. Post relevant, well thought out, critical and attractive journalism often

These were all necessities I was aware of however, I think finally hearing these shared ideas from the many accomplished speakers awoke these beliefs of mine.

Suddenly I felt like I was in a bit of a fork in the road. I knew I needed to produce new content and modify some of the structure of WhoseCraft.com. I have lists of various ideas for features I’d like to produce (videos included).

Ultimately though, I’m in a place in my life right now where I need to focus on my career, learn more about the industry and the culture of Southern California before I feel truly confident to share my knowledge and beliefs as I did in the Central Valley.

This is not a goodbye for WhoseCraft.com, it’s a necessary break. My website will be MUCH better later on. I will continue sharing my beer related activities on Instragram, Untappd and Facebook. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for the future of Whose Craft, you are welcome to share them.

Thank you again for all of your support. I am so in awe of how wonderful you all are and I hope you also look forward to the future of WhoseCraft.com too.

Cheers!

Beer Bloggers Conferences Exist!

There are conferences for just about anyone and anything including agriculture science, restaurants, women, computer software and even… BEER BLOGGERS!

For 16 years, Montana-based Zephyr Adventures organized the Beer Bloggers Conference, as well as many other lifestyle conferences including Wine Bloggers Conference and International Food Bloggers Conference. This year’s conference is expected to be held at the Marriott Mission Valley hotel from August 22 through August 24. 

Oh yeah, there isn’t just one Beer Bloggers Conference, there are two. There was one at the end of June in Dublin. Rough life right?

This year’s 3-day conference will feature a number of intriguing seminars, a trade show, and dinner at a couple amazing brewery restaurants — Karl Strauss and Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens! Eek!

For those that paid merely an additional $40 also had the option to go on a pre-conference excursion last night to a few dang-good LA breweries including: Golden Road Brewing, Angel City Brewing, The Bruery, Smog City and Monkish Brewing.

I originally paid for the pre-excursion, however I needed to work, thus I was only able to make a stop by The Bruery for an hour. *le sigh*

Some of the cool and untold features to the excursion were a private tasting in The Bruery’s warehouse and going on top of Angel City’s roof.

This year’s conference was supported by several sponsors including: National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), CraftBeer.com, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Co., Lagunitas Brewing Company, WordPress and many more. 

I will be live tweeting, Instagram-ing, Facebook-ing and Untapping throughout the entire conference. Additionally, I may just visit one or two other breweries too.

 

In case I captivated your interest, check out the conference’s itinerary!

 

 

 

Cheers my friends!

Bargain Bombers

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The craft beer industry’s largest demographic of consumers are millennials — 49% to be exact. Why does this matter? Well, most of us are broke, however we value craft in a variety of industries including hand-made jewelry, eco-friendly products and most importantly beer.

We would love to lavishly spend $20 on fancy barrel aged beers regularly, but when it comes down to it food > beer.

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Obviously in most scenarios, buying in bulk is a cost efficient option, however buying in bulk can also be quite boring. Particularly since there are so many great craft beers available!

Thus, I prepared a general go-to list of breweries whom generally provide inexpensive yet delicious bombers (22oz bottles) of beer for $5 or less.

  • Bear Republic Healdsburg, CA: Racer 5 IPA
  • Dust Bowl Turlock, CA: Super Tramp (Hefeweizen) and Hops of Wrath (IPA)…etc.
  • Lagunitas Petaluma, CA: Check out the Lagunitas IPA, Cappuccino Stout and Hop Stoopid (IIPA). Mmm delightful!
  • New Belgium Fort Collins, CO: Shift Pale Lager and Ranger IPA. If you find a Lips of Faith for $5 or less let me know!
  • Ninkasi Eugene, OR: Total Domination (IPA) and Tricerahops (IIPA). I have also heard good reviews about one of their seasonal beers, Maiden the Shade (IPA).
  • Speakeasy Ales & Lagers San Francisco, CA: Big Daddy IPA and Payback Porter.
  • Sierra Nevada Chico, CA: Pale Ale of course!
  • Tioga Sequoia Fresno, CA: Definitely Double Dry Hopped General Sherman IPA (aka DDH) and Rush Hour (Milk Stout).

Additionally, it’s also worth noting that there are a few breweries whom specialize in reasonably priced canned beers including:

  • 21st Amendment San Francisco, CA: I like the Back in Black (Black IPA) and Bitter America (American Pale Ale). Additionally a great gateway summer craft beer is their Hell or High Watermelon (Wheat Beer).
  • Golden Road Glendale, CA: I haven’t tried too many from these guys, however the majority of my friends that do love Golden Road agree that their favorite is Heal the Bay.
  • Oskar Blues Lyons, CO: Pretty much everything. To name a few I recommend Dale’s Pale Ale, G’Knight Imperial Red Ale and Old Chub (Scotch Ale).

FYI packaging varies on these canned options.

I hope you find some of the list of breweries to be helpful. I selected beers that I knew most of my viewers would have access to. If you have any any other recommendations for bargain bombers please share!

Guess Who is Back — Back Again

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Greetings again friends!

I am so grateful for those of you who have been so patient with me. It’s been a lot to take in within the last two weeks of packing, moving and then somewhat settling into my new home. This is the first time I moved out of Fresno. Clovis doesn’t count.

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I sent out a social media poll and asked you all to vote on what kind of feature you would like to read, and those of you who voted, decided that hands-down you wanted to read about my new job and new life in LA — thus I’m going to talk about myself.

For those of you who don’t know, I moved to Los Angeles for a sales position with Karl Strauss Brewing Company two weeks ago and since then a lot has happened. In my free time *cough* my research, I dined/visited at 5 breweries, 2 brewery restaurants, 3 gastropubs and several beer-centric liquor stores.

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In my first week of training at Karl Strauss Brewing Company, I spent two days in San Diego at the home office. Within those first two days alone, I felt an outpour of acceptance, community, teamwork and overall a company filled of high integrity. I feel so lucky to have this job with one of the oldest microbreweries in California, and more importantly to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.

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We’ve won 46 awards alone within only the last four years!

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Head Brewer, Matt Johnson showing us around

Primarily my training has consisted of shadowing other sales reps. We additionally have weekly meetings with the other reps. Both of these sessions are excellent tools for my success in my new position

On Tuesday, we also had our 4th annual company beach cleanup in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation. Our group of 144 Karl Strauss team members ended up removing 278 pounds of trash, including over 3,750 cigarette butts and 2,000 pieces of plastic. The Surfrider Foundation had a cleanup only 10 days prior. It’s crazy how lazy people are at the beach right?!

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Wednesday I was invited by one of my Sales Managers to attend the Los Angeles Brew Talks event held at Angel City Brewery. This was an interview tour organized by the east-coast bloggers at brewbound.com. The bloggers interviewed various influential businessmen in the LA area about the importance of the craft beer industry now, how it has changed their business models and how they see the future of craft beer demand effecting their businesses. One of the interesting facts Fresh & Easy shared is that they will begin a growler program soon at certain locations.

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Despite my enthusiasm, trust me friends, the Central Valley beer scene has not been forgotten. Nearly every day I recommend someone in the beer industry about places to check out and beers to try in the area if they are passing through. I got yo back home slice!

 

Breweries I’ve checked out since I moved:

  • Angel City, Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA)

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  • Karl Strauss (big surprise), (San Diego) SD

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  • Societe, SD

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  • Strand, Torrance

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  • Timeless Pints, Lakewood

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Brewery Restaurants:

  • Beachwood, in Long Beach. There is another Beachwood location in Seal Beach, however it’s a small venue so I’m not sure they serve food. It may jus be their tasting room.

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  • Karl Strauss Brewing Company, multiple locations in LA and SD.

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Gastropubs:

  • 38 Degrees, Alhambra — they just celebrated their 5th Anniversary
  • Slater’s 50/50, Pasadena
  • Spring St., DTLA

 

Liquor Stores & Bottle Shops:

  • Bottle Craft, at Little Italy in SD county

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  • Buzz Wine Beer Shop, DTLA

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  • Keg n Bottle, multiple locations in San Diego — I recommend the location in MIra Mesa in SD county

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  • Ramierez Liquor Shop, multiple locations in LA county — I recommend their newest location off of Olympic Blvd. nearby DTLA

 

By the way, the Whole Foods in Pasadena serves beer!

I will try to include recommendations as often as possible.

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Pita Kabob Gastropub Raises the Bar

Since around Saint Patrick’s Day, I’ve been in contact fairly often via Instagram with a gentleman who refers himself as The Captain (Instagram @CaptainOfCraft). He was quite persistent to try to convince me to drive out to Visalia in order to write a feature on Pita Kabob — no really, nearly on a weekly basis. I have mad respect for that kind of persistence.

Understandably, it seemed like I was blowing him off. I wasn’t. I was insanely busy and or broke, and I still am, however I find it important to fulfill my promises. Thus, with 10 days prior to my move, I took a private trip south to visit the Pita Kabob gang at the newest location in the heart of Downtown Visalia.

I strolled into the facility around 12:30 p.m. and immediately ordered a Lil B Evil Twin Porter. It was a hard tie between that and Most Premium Gigantic Stout.

I couldn’t get over my love for the industrious yet rustic feel to the gastropub. It was envisioned by Owner, Chafic Dada and executed by Monica Fatica, Co-owner of local Embellish & Restore.

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What originally launched as a small Mediterranean restaurant 10 years ago, flourished into a total of three phenomenal local gourmet restaurants with menu items inspired by family recipes.

“When we first started the company there wasn’t any beer, it was a deli with just grocery items,” Dada said. “We slowly evolved into a restaurant.”

Dada opened his second restaurant with 11 taps in 2008, perfect timing for the beginning of the craft beer renaissance.

Three weeks ago during the American Craft Beer Week, Dada launched his baby Pita Kabob Gastropub. It is the first gastropub in Visalia and it can hold a capacity of approximately 180 people. Pita Kabob Gastropub currently serves all of the same made-to-order Mediterranean food from the other restaurant, but Dada plans to make a small dinner menu available too. The Pita Kabob Gastropub bar includes 31 taps which rotate frequently.

“We are going through a lot more beer than we thought we would,” The Captain said.

Additionally, Pita Kabob partnered up with Tioga Sequoia for a special brew on their opening.

“We had them make a Triple Dry Hopped IPA (The Triple) with Citra,” Dada said. “It was inspired by Captain, and Mike Cruz made it happen.”

As some of you know, The Triple was temporarily released on tap at the Tioga Sequoia Beer Garden, however Pita Kabob Gastropub was the only retailer to receive them.

“We have definitely helped to change the way people drink,” Dada said. “We make an effort to go above and beyond and are willing to travel.”

They are selling Oklahoma’s finest craft beer Prairie people — they do not stretch the truth!

“There are a lot of people trying to get onto the craft beer bandwagon right now,” Dada said. “I see a lot of restaurants that are coming up in this area. Don’t be fooled, because they won’t be able to talk to you and bring you the things you really want to try because they are a money-driven aspect only. We are all in this to make make some money, but you have to have a passion for what you do. One of the rules I have is that I will not serve food or beer that I do not like.”

This kind of care is what makes Pita Kabob Gastropub stand out from the crowd. It is a company enriched by integrity, skill and knowledge.

One of The Captain’s roles is to help put some of the events together at two of the restaurants. They do tastings, cask nights and they hope to launch beer dinners, courses and potentially cigar and beer pairings later on.

Here are some of the upcoming events at Pita Kabob Gastropub:

  • July 12: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America
  • August 23: Stone tap takeover
  • September 13: A sour night — expect delightful beers from The Bruery and Almanac

 

Back to the food! Oh it was so good — so so good. The presentation was great as well as its overall freshness.

For lunch I had a light meal. I enjoyed their chicken skewer with cilantro jalepeno hummus, and then I just happened to spend all day there and had one of their combination plates for dinner.

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1) Taboulah Salad (AKA the bowl of green yummy goodness): This was a refreshing bowl of onions, tomato, cilantro, lime juice, a little olive oil and other goodies.

2) Babba Ghanoush (what appears to look like hummus on my plate): This is very similar to hummus, however instead of making essentially a thick paste from chickpeas, it is made with eggplant. It was wonderfully smoky too.

3) Grilled Vegetables

4) Lulu Kabob: A mix of lamb, beef and sausage-like nom noms.

 

Oh, but the party… I mean feature didn’t stop there. Several of the employees, other beer geeks and myself enjoyed a delightful bottle share afterwards for a few hours.

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The Captain and Daniel

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Chafic Dada

“The biggest consensus I get from people in this location is they don’t feel like they are in Visalia,” Dada said. “They feel like they are in the city, San Francisco or in LA somewhere.”

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There was a lot beer… I may have stayed a tad longer than I anticipated.

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I gotta hand it to them, either I’m not being invited to enough bottle shares in Fresno, or the Pita Kabob team in Visalia handle their craft beer scene a little bit better us. I’m truly impressed by this group of individuals and I look forward to hearing more about Pita Kabob’s future successes.

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Pita Kabob Website

Facebook

Instagram @PitaKabob

Untappd @PitaKabob

 

 

All three locations:

Pita Kabob Gastropub 227 N. Court Visalia, CA 93291

Pita Kabob 2226 S. Mooney Blvd. Visalia, CA 93277

Pita Kabob 5101 W. Walnut Ave. Visalia, CA 93277

 

Goodbye Fresno, Hello City of Angels

I graduated at Fresno State with my Bachelor’s degree in Advertising 13 months and 3 days ago. For months I searched for positions in marketing and sales within a variety of industries. When I decided to focus my efforts within the craft beer industry, I soon realized I needed to invest a ton of my time, energy and money within my local community, other counties and obviously to learn as much as I can in the meantime.

It has finally all paid off. Yesterday I accepted the Brewery Sales Representative position at Karl Strauss for their Downtown Los Angeles territory.

Because of this major transition, I may not be able to post as frequently and my focus will change to a new territory. I hope to include features of the blending territories as often as possible, i.e. festivals or features on Central Valley beer industry people visit me…etc.

I was born and raised in Fresno, thus it is difficult for me to make this transition, however I feel that it is entirely worth it. I will try to visit the area as often as I can. It was an absolute pleasure to share the positive media within the Central Valley related to the craft beer industry.  I can’t thank everyone enough for their support, mentorship, constructive criticism and friendship. You have made this a truly rewarding experience.

I encourage those who enjoy writing and or event coordinating to start their own craft beer ventures. In particular, I would love to see more women-based craft beer events and clubs. So, since next Friday is the last Whose Crafty Ladies mixer, I sure hope you are able to attend.

It will be at the Tioga Sequoia Beer Gardens from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Whose Crafty Ladies receive 15% off of merchandise and a $1 off beers.

My last day in Fresno will be July 4. You know how to reach me in the meantime. 

Eye of the Tiger

speakeasy (n)a saloon or nightclub selling alcoholic beverages illegally, especially during Prohibition — also called blind pig or blind tiger.

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As many of you know, Prohibition lasted from 1920 until 1933 — a truly depressing time in American history. Slowly but surely afterwards Americans decided that brewing seemed like a good idea.

Alas, Forest Gray founded Speakeasy Ales and Lagers in 1997 with the theme obviously of the Prohibition era. It’s a novel and ironic marketing idea — kudos Forest!

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Photo credit: Speakeasy

Thus, Speakeasy is celebrating their 17th Anniversary Party June 28 at the brewery in San Francisco, Calif. from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.

“The celebration will benefit SF Made and the organization’s efforts in supporting a vibrant local manufacturing sector in San Francisco,” Media and Marketing Coordinator, Cindy Le said. “Our annual bash will feature unlimited beer tasting of a host of elusive beers pulled from our Vault, beer-infused food from local restaurants and face melting live performances.”

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Photo credit: Speakeasy

So here is the breakdown of why it’s going to be great.

 

1) Two of their rarest beers:

a) Syndicate Series 02: “The second installment of our barrel-aging program, Syndicate No. 02 will have an imperial stout base and blended with five different strong ales to make a truly unique vintage ale,” via Speakeasy.com. For up to two years!

b) Blind Tiger Imperial IPA (IIPA): “It’s the hoppiest beer we’ve ever brewed, with a massively aromatic blend of over 10 lbs. of hops per barrel,” Le said. “Blind Tiger has six different West Coast hop varieties in it, including Citra, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Centennial, and clocks in at 9.5% ABV with over 100 IBUs. It explodes with melon and citrus peel notes.”

Growler fills will not be available during the event, however specialty release beers should still be available in the tap room afterwards for only $12 per fill. 

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Photo credit: Speakeasy

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Photo credit: Speakeasy

There will additionally be other released beers like…

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Photo credit: Speakeasy

 

They will FOR SURE be distributed in:

a) Bakersfield: Imbibe and Sully’s

b) Stockton: Abbey Trappist and Valley Brew

c) Modesto: Appeteze and Firkin n Fox

Fresnans, start requesting them at your bars!

 

2) Amazing local food:

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I love the tag line!

“We’ve also teamed up with some of our favorite restaurants in the city to curate special Speakeasy-infused menus for the party,” Le said, “Voodoo Van, Front Porch, Memphis Minnie’s, and Wes Burger will be cooking with our beers to make for a truly beer-infused eating & drinking experience.”

 

3) Live bands:

a) Kyng: a trio from Los Angeles who play a 1970s hard rock style. They blend styles from artists like Black Sabbath and even Foo Fighters.

b) Midnight Chaser: Another awesome 1970s hard rock style band but currently living in San Francisco.

c) WishCraft: Good ol’ rock and blues!

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Awesome album cover right?

Need I say more? Yes, I think I do.

Last year Speakeasy had 1,200 attendees, this year Le expects to reach full capacity of 1,500 attendees. I recommend purchasing tickets ASAP. General Admission tickets include unlimited pours of the Speakeasy lineup, special and rare releases as well as a commemorative 17th Anniversary taster glass for $40 online. General Admission tickets at the door are $50. Designated driver/ Under 21 tickets are only $10.

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It should be phenomenal and for those that didn’t submit entries to win two tickets to the event via my social media giveaway, don’t worry, I’ll post photos afterwards ;).

 


 

Also as a reminder. Next Friday is the second Whose Crafty Ladies meetup. We will meet at the Tioga Sequoia Beer Garden for another chill mixer. Here are more details.

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Photo credit: Tioga Sequoia